Thursday, December 24, 2009

Recent Case Holding: People v. Limon - Immigration Consequences

This case held that: If the trial court fails to advise a defendant of immigration consequences, the defendant may seek to withdraw his plea pursuant to Penal Code section 1016.5, subdivision (b). In 1988, appellant, a non-citizen, was convicted of felony drug offenses and granted probation with a condition requiring him to serve a jail sentence. In 1995, he was deported but returned illegally in 1987, and in 2008, he filed a motion pursuant to section 1016.5, subdivision (b) to vacate judgment and withdraw his guilty pleas. The trial court denied the motion. The denial was affirmed. To prevail on a section 1016.5, subdivision (b) motion, a defendant must establish that he was not properly advised of immigration consequences as provided by statute. Because the trial court properly advised appellant of immigration consequences when it accepted his pleas, appellant’s statutory claim was found to be without merit.

People v. Limon , District: 5 DCA , Case #: F056907
Opinion Date: 12/11/2009 , DAR #: 17333

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Broadcom's former CEO wins dismissal of criminal backdating charges

Broadcom Corp's former chief executive and financial officers won dismissal of criminal charges over stock-option backdating after a federal judge found that prosecutors had intimidated three critical witnesses. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney, at a hearing in federal court in Santa Ana, ended the trial of former finance chief William Ruehle and threw out the charges against former CEO and co-founder Henry Nicholas, who was scheduled to go trial in February. Judge Carney also dismissed the SEC complaint filed against four Broadcom executives. This came after Judge Carney vacated a guilty plea by former by Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli in the same case after hearing him testify for two days last week as a defense witness for Ruehle under a grant of immunity. Judge Carney found that prosecutors tried to prevent three key defense witnesses from testifying, improperly contacted attorneys for defense witnesses and leaked information about grand jury proceedings to the media.

Ruehle and Nicholas were indicted last year for retroactively deciding the dates when Broadcom employees received their stock-option grants to increase the employees’ profits. Irvine, California-based Broadcom had to reduce reported earnings by $2.22 billion from 1998 to 2005 for underreported compensation expenses, the largest backdating- related restatement for any company.

“You are charged with serious crimes and, if convicted on them, you will spend the rest of your life prison,” Judge Carney said. “You only have three witnesses to prove your innocence and the government has intimidated and improperly influenced each one of them. Is that fair? Is that justice? I say absolutely not.”

The case is U.S. v. Nicholas, 08-139, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Case Update: People v. Rios - Implied Waiver of Rights to Silence & Counsel

In People v. Rios, the California Court of Appeals held that where a defendant impliedly waived his rights to silence and counsel, subsequent admissions were admissible. In that case, Defendant Rios was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol car. He was advised of his Miranda rights by a deputy, who did not ask for a waiver. The deputy then left the patrol car for 5 to 10 minutes. When he returned, he questioned Rios, who then made incriminating statements. The trial court found that Rios had been properly advised of and waived his Miranda rights, and denied the defendant's motion to exclude the statements. On appeal from his subsequent conviction, Rios contended that admission of the statements was reversible error because the prosecution failed to show that he waived his rights to silence and to counsel. He argued that the deputy's interrogation technique of not soliciting a waiver of rights was similar to the tactics disallowed by J. Souter's plurality opinion in Missouri v. Seibert (2004) 542 U.S.
600, because it undermined the Miranda decision. However, the appellate court disagreed and affirmed his conviction. The Court concluded that nothing in Seibert abrogated the rule articulated in North Carolina v. Butler (1979) 441 U.S. 3 69, which allows for a trial court to find an in-custody accused has impliedly waived his Miranda rights. Here, the trial court looked to the totality of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation and properly concluded that Rios had waived his rights. Rios was advised of his rights and said he understood them, he did not ask the deputy any questions, he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he readily answered the deputy's questions. Thus, the Court resolved there was no indication he invoked his Miranda rights and determined that substantial evidence supported the trial court's finding that the admissions were admissible.

People v. Rios, District: 2 DCA , Division: 5 , Case # B208573
Opinion Dated 11/19/2009